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July 22, 2009 > Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By Heidi Leung

Rated PG

It is no secret that the Harry Potter series gets darker as the young wizards get closer to their final years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The latest installment proves no different as the opening sequence involves a dilapidated house complete with blood dripping from the ceiling. Luckily, the lighthearted magic of Harry Potter shines through as the audience is relieved of this stressful scene quickly. Forget all the sinister forces waiting for their chance to consume all happiness; its year six for Harry and company, a protection charm surrounds the school grounds, and teenage hormones are at an all-time high.

Perhaps in trying to compete with Twilight, the director thought it appropriate to use Half-Blood Prince as a platform to launch an in-depth love story between its central characters. Although these feelings do exist in the story, the awkward crushes and cheesy moments of actualization take over the majority of the film. Without a doubt, these interludes are hilarious, but they devalue key pieces of the plot that enable the viewer to understand a complex situation.

In addition to the problem of too much inappropriate lighthearted comedy, the abrupt climax failed to make an impact. Where one should have been reduced to tears, no emotion stirred. This is disappointing because the actors and actresses are quite good, particularly at facial expressions.

Practice makes perfect as the saying goes; Daniel Radcliff (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) improve at their roles with each film. It is obvious the three have had time to grow with one another; as a result, the on-screen friendship is very natural and realistic. The always excellent Alan Rickman as mysterious and unpleasant Professor Snape brings to light the importance of his role in Harry's life. New to the cast is Jim Broadbent who plays the role of a bumbling, star-pupil obsessed character Professor Slughorn flawlessly. He delivers every emotion just through his eyes. Michael Gambon as Dumbledore is questionable. He looks the part; his facial expressions are also very strong. However, he is too gravely serious. Though the times at hand are somber, Dumbledore was portrayed by J.K Rowling, in a more spritely and cheerful manner to remind the reader of trust and hope even in such a dire situation.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a disappointing film because it fails to translate the in-depth, complicated events and feelings of the book. In addition, the pace is slow and one can't help crave more action. It feels like filler between the finale and previous years; still, it contains vital information. Viewers are advised to pay careful attention to all that is being said without becoming too engrossed in the scatterbrained scenes of teenagers making out in the corridors. Although it is not one of the best of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a must see for those who want to understand the story.

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